Tillerson ups pressure on Pakistan for backing Taliban

American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has increased pressure on Pakistan over its perceived backing for the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Pakistan denies sheltering the Taliban, but Mr Tillerson suggested it could lose US privileges if the government failed “to change their posture”.

He was speaking a day after President Donald Trump unveiled a new strategy, vowing to commit US forces to back Afghan forces fighting the insurgents.

The US is a key ally of Pakistan.

The country enjoys a special status as a non-Nato alliance partner and receives billions of dollars in aid.

But Mr Tillerson said these “could be on the table for discussion if in fact they are unwilling to change their posture or change their approach to how they are dealing with the numerous terrorist organisations that find safe haven in Pakistan.

“It is in Pakistan’s interest to take those actions.”

Mr Tillerson also stressed that having a stable Pakistan was in US and other countries’ interests.

“They are a nuclear power and we have concerns about the security of their weapons. This is not a situation where the US is saying ‘this is us and you’.”

Mr Tillerson said the Taliban must be made to understand that they could not win a battlefield victory in Afghanistan. But he suggested the US might not either.

“We may not win one but neither will you,” as he put it, adding that negotiation was the way to bring the conflict to an end. (Courtesy BBC)

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